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Bunnell’s Bounces: Back on track

The Horned Frogs are 3-0 against the spread in their last three games.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The TCU Men’s Basketball team will be looking to continue their winning ways tonight after a memorable last-second 81-78 victory over Oklahoma State last week.

That win against the Cowboys was a huge confidence boost for the team going forward, and in this conference you have to cherish any shred of confidence you can get.

After Saturday’s game @ Baylor was postponed due to COVID protocols, the momentum-riding Horned Frogs host the Iowa State Cyclones — a team that has been somewhat of an unpleasant surprise in Big 12 play this season. The Cyclones hold a 2-11 overall record and 0-8 conference record on the year.

I don’t think Iowa State has reason to panic just yet, coach Steve Prohm has led the program to two Big 12 championships and multiple postseason appearances, but this season is certainly off putting.

Both TCU and Iowa State are trending upwards in the eyes of Vegas considering the Frogs have covered the spread in their last three games and the Cyclones have covered in their last two.

The Frogs have brought their against the spread record back from the dead, what once was a 4-9-1 record is now 7-9-1. Still not profitable, but we’re getting there. Iowa State hasn’t been the most profitable team either, posting a 5-8 record against the spread this season.

From my perspective, this is a great spot for TCU to be in. Despite losing to Kansas and Missouri on the road, the Frogs looked significantly improved compared to what they did before the extended pause on the season (damn you COVID). Iowa State, however, has been struggling ever since they lost to South Dakota State at home in game 2 of the year.

The Cyclones are yet to win a road game this season, and if the crowd at the Schollmaier arena is anywhere near as loud as it was against Oklahoma State they’ll have a tough time doing so tonight.

Enough about what I think is going to happen, let’s see where the oddsmakers have the lines set for tonight’s Big 12 showdown:

TCU vs Iowa State

  • Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: TCU -6, ISU +6
  • Over/under: 142
  • Money Line: TCU -265, ISU +215

My Pick: TCU -6, pass on over/under

Last time around I missed out on TCU +4.5 against the Pokes because the Frogs inconsistency made me nervous, but tonight I’m riding with the Frogs to cover the spread with full confidence.

Part of the reason I’m so confident in this pick is because six of TCU’s seven losses this year have come against teams with an NCAA Net Rank of 26 or above, and the Frogs are playing extremely well against unranked opponents(10-3 on the year).

Not to mention, TCU has won five of the last six games in this series as well as four straight in Fort Worth. If the Frogs win tonight, the all-time series record will become an even 12-12.

Albeit the Horned Frogs have been exceeding their offensive expectations as of late, the fact that the oddsmakers set this line around 142 is the reason I’m not making a play. I would have expected this line to be anywhere from 145-147, so I’m thinking Vegas knows something I don’t.

At the time of writing this, TCU is receiving a slight majority of public bets(51%) compared to Iowa State(49%), but the Cyclones are pulling in a larger stake of the money placed(66%).

One key to victory tonight for the Frogs is to shut down Iowa State guard Rasir Bolton, who leads the team in points(15.2 PPG), rebounds(5.2 RPG), assists(4.5 APG), and steals(1.8 SPG). Bolton is an all-around talented player, so if TCU can produce a similar defensive performance to what they did in the 1st half against Cade Cunningham last time out, everything will be a-okay.

Moving on to some other pick outside of Fort Worth, I’ve hit somewhat of a slump going 0-5 in my last five which brings me to 20-19-1 on the year. This is a perfect spot for a cheesy motivational line — Knock me down nine times and I’ll get up ten. Let’s get right into tonight’s best bets:

Pick 1: Creighton -4 (1H) vs Georgetown

  • Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. CST

Pick 2: St. Johns +1.5 vs Butler

  • Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. CST

Pick 3: Texas Tech vs West Virginia under 140.5

  • Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. CST